Based on John Goodman‘s hosting gig on this week’s Saturday Night Live — no lie, it was his 13th time on the job — I’m pretty much convinced the answer is “yes.”
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Indeed, Goodman was saddled with such grimly unfunny material, I half wondered if the Grinch had arrived at Studio 8H, loaded all of this week’s punch lines into a sack and took ’em back up the chimney. Or maybe he just hurled ’em into a blazing fire.
And while you’d think/hope it would take halfway decent material to lure Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro for cameos, I fear that free publicity for their upcoming Grudge Match was all the incentive they needed. (More on that in a moment.)
Below, my picks for best and worst sketches:
BEST: GUY FIERI’S FULL-THROTTLE CHRISTMAS
Bobby Moynihan’s take on the Food Network star is pretty brilliant, both in terms of the man himself (that opening spin-and-cackle move had me howling) and his recipes (“a stocking stuffed with 20-layer bean dip in a crumbled Teddy Graham crust!”). Additional laughs courtesy of that list of special guests (Mimi from Drew Carey!); the promise of turning a “fruitcake into a straight cake”; Kid Rock’s Bud Lime gazpacho; and the maniacal animated Guy punching out Santa, his elf and even a reindeer.
BEST: LAST CALL
Kate McKinnon is so brazenly weird and willing that she upgrades almost every sketch she’s in. And while I can’t say I was overly excited to see the return of her last-call nympho, I also have to admit that I guffawed after she sprayed Goodman down with whipped cream — the better to boost his resemblance to Santa — screamed, “my heart and my genitals say ‘No!’ but my hypoglycemia says ‘Yes!'” and went to town on his face.
HONORABLE MENTION (BEST): H&M RAP
Jay Pharoah schooling customer Goodman on how to make the $60 in his pocket cover everyone on his shopping list. Highlights included the checkout lines all the way to Senegal, jeans that disintegrate in water, and a cameo from Wale about getting “into girls’ pants while wearing girls’ denim.”
WORST: DANCING SNOWFLAKES
Four adults staging a woeful community theater Christmas pageant begin to doubt themselves as the music starts and their terrible dancing begins. “Holy f***! What the hell am I doing up here?” asked Kenan Thompson — summing up what he, Goodman, Vanessa Bayer and Aidy Bryant should’ve been screaming to Lorne Michaels during dress rehearsal. The extended riff about Thompson getting a mid-performance boner did not help matters.
WORST: THREE WISE GUYS
Goodman, Stallone and De Niro completely humiliated themselves in one of the worst SNL sketches in recent memory, playing a trio of guys from “Long Island and New Jersey” riding their camels to greet a newborn baby Jesus. Did Stallone make a joke about putting shoes on his mount so he wouldn’t have “to see camel toe”? Did De Niro actually utter the words “I’m sweatin’ my falafels off”? Were there pauses so long and awkward that it felt like the actors were reading off the last line of an eye chart? Did I laugh more during my last dentist appointment? Unfortunately, yes, to all of the above.
HONORABLE MENTION (WORST): OPENING MONOLOGUE
Goodman and Thompson singing a little ditty called “All I Want for Christmas Is Booty.” Sorry, I don’t hate myself enough to watch this a second time and transcribe any of the lyrics. And doesn’t the tragic title tell you everything you don’t need to know?
Your turn! What did you think of Goodman as SNL host? Grade the episode in the poll below, then sound off in the comments!